Human Ecology

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 237–245 | Cite as

Columbia Basin Heritage Fish Consumption Rates

  • Barbara L. HarperEmail author
  • Deward E. WalkerJr.


The distinction between contemporary Native American fish consumption rates and original baseline heritage rates is important as heritage rates have long been recognized as a baseline relevant to the fishing tribes of the Pacific Northwest, and are generally protected by Treaties and case law. This paper reviews two approaches to accurately defining heritage fish consumption rates in the Columbia Basin. One approach is dietary reconstruction based on several lines of evidence (ethnographic, archaeological, historical ecology, nutritional) to estimate overall dietary composition and the caloric contribution of fish, especially salmon. The second approach is review of abundance, harvest, and consumption rates augmented with ethnographic and archaeological evidence over the same geographical area. The two methods independently arrive at the same range for heritage rates, and the wealth of evidence that has accumulated over 75 years of investigation suggests that these are robust conclusions.


Fish consumption rates Heritage consumption rates Columbia Basin Columbia River Pacific Northwest Native American Ethnographic surveys 



The authors with to thank Catherine O’Neil, Jamie Donatuto, Pat Cirone, Craig McCormack, and Diane Barton for their thoughtful insights and comments.


The material presented in this article represents the opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect official tribal or university policy.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest. This paper is a companion paper to Harper and Walker, “Comparison of Contemporary and Heritage Fish Consumption Rates in the Columbia River Basin.” No animal research or human subjects were involved in the development of this paper. This work was not supported by a grant or consultation fees. A portion of this work was presented as:

B Harper. Heritage or Rights-Based Fish consumption Rates in the Columbia Basin. 2013 Tribal Leaders Summit, October 7–11, 2013. Northern Quest Resort & Casino, Spokane WA. Invited presentation, posted at


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological and Population Health SciencesOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.Walker Research Group, Ltd.University of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA

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